Parkinson's disease is affected by the appendix. It is the summary and hypotheses supported by neuroscientists from around the world who have initiated a large study of nearly 1.7 million patients. Published in the journal Science Translation Medicine, the study reveals that patients who have had an appendix removed have up to 25% less chance of not being affected by Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease, named after James Parkinson and described in 1817, is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer's disease. Also known as an aging disease, it begins around age 45 and can be reported over the next 30 years. It is a degenerative chronic neurological disease, that is, a progressive loss of the brain that results in a deficiency of dopamine in certain structures of the brain. This affects the central nervous system (responsible for progressive disorders: slow movements, tremors, rigidity and cognitive disorders). Its causes remain little known, although there is substantial evidence that the intestine is partly responsible for it.
Indeed, today we know that it is in the intestine that Parkinson's disease develops by using the nerves to go back to the brain. A fact not surprising since one of the first symptoms of the disease is constipation. The researchers also noticed that a protein, alpha-synuclein (a protein that is precisely associated with the disease), was in the form of abnormal clumps in the gastrointestinal tract. Viviane Labrie, principal author of the study, explains that "although its reputation (the appendix) is largely to be" useless ", the appendix actually plays a major role, in our immune system, in the regulating the composition of our intestinal bacteria and now, as our work shows, in the onset of Parkinson's disease. " Let us understand here that the alpha-synuclein protein accumulates in the intestine following an immune reaction to toxins and bacteria.
Nevertheless, this is a difficult explanation to maintain as the primary cause of Parkinson's. Being a slow-acting disease, it takes years to find that dopamine cells degrade to such an extent that the body experiences tremor or muscle rigidity. However, researchers believe that brain cell damage is related to how alpha-synuclein bends and agglomerates in some people. In addition, it can be noted that over the decades, the accumulation of this protein is increasingly important which leads to alarming interactions between the brain and intestine. Solid evidence certainly, but there is still the fact that the slow progression of the disease is preferable in people considered at risk. This makes study results difficult to obtain and interpret for people who do not pose a risk at the outset.
© youtube / FUTUREMAG – ARTE
Towards a better understanding of the causes?
Recently, it is a study conducted by neuroscientists around the world that has supported two hypotheses about the probable causes of Parkinson's disease. For this, they associated the details of the PPMI (Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiatives); it is an observational clinical study that comprehensively evaluates important cohorts of interest using advanced imaging, biological sampling techniques, and clinical and behavioral assessments, in order to identify biomarkers of progression of Parkinson's disease. And the records of the Swedish National Register of Patients for the purpose of looking for possible links between neuro-degenerative disease and appendectomies.
The extensive study that has focused on the follow-up of nearly 1.7 million people shows a difference of nearly 20% less likely to be prone to Parkinson's disease between patients without an appendix and those with the appendix intact. Even better, the researchers pushed the comparison even to the places of dwellings of the patients between the urban and rural areas and they observed that the difference climbed up to 25% of luck of less for the people who had no more Appendix.
The study does not demonstrate in any way that removing the appendix will make you immune to the disease, but it does add new insights into the causes of Parkinson's. According to Vanessa Fleury, a neurologist at Geneva University Hospitals, "This research supports two hypotheses: Parkinson's disease starts early in the digestive tract, and environmental factors, such as pesticide exposure, play a role in the emergence of cancer. pathology in genetically predisposed persons ".